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Risk Management and Corporate Governance: the Importance of Independence and Financial Knowledge for the Board and the Audit Committee

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  • Georges Dionne
  • Thouraya Triki

Abstract

The new NYSE rules for corporate governance require the audit committee to discuss and review the firm's risk assessment and hedging strategies. They also put additional requirements for the composition and the financial knowledge of the directors sitting on the board and on the audit committee. In this paper, we investigate whether these new rules as well as those set by the Sarbanes Oxley act lead to hedging decisions that are of more benefit to shareholders. We construct a novel hand collected dataset that allows us to explore multiple definitions for the financially knowledgeable term present in this new regulation. We find that the requirements on the audit committee size and independence are beneficial to shareholders, although maintaining a majority of unrelated directors in the board and a director with an accounting background on the audit committee may not be necessary. Interestingly, financially educated directors seem to encourage corporate hedging while financially active directors and those with an accounting background play no active role in such policy. This evidence combined with the positive relation we report between hedging and the firm's performance suggests that shareholders are better off with financially educated directors on their boards and audit committees. Our empirical findings also show that having directors with a university education on the board is an important determinant of the hedging level. Indeed, our measure of risk management is found to be an increasing function of the percentage of directors holding a diploma superior to a bachelor degree. This result is the first direct evidence concerning the importance of university education for the board of directors.

Suggested Citation

  • Georges Dionne & Thouraya Triki, 2005. "Risk Management and Corporate Governance: the Importance of Independence and Financial Knowledge for the Board and the Audit Committee," Cahiers de recherche 0515, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0515
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    3. J. Cummins & Georges Dionne & Robert Gagné & A. Nouira, 2009. "Efficiency of insurance firms with endogenous risk management and financial intermediation activities," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 145-159, October.
    4. Berger, Allen N. & Kick, Thomas & Schaeck, Klaus, 2014. "Executive board composition and bank risk taking," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 48-65.
    5. Murillo Campello & Chen Lin & Yue Ma & Hong Zou, 2011. "The Real and Financial Implications of Corporate Hedging," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(5), pages 1615-1647, October.
    6. Naz Sayari & Bill Marcum, 2018. "Do US Corporate Governance Standards Effectively Discourage Risk in the Emerging Markets?," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 28(2), pages 167-185, June.
    7. Huang, Qianqian & Jiang, Feng & Lie, Erik & Yang, Ke, 2014. "The role of investment banker directors in M&A," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 269-286.
    8. Monda, Barbara & Giorgino, Marco & Modolin, Ileana, 2013. "Rationales for Corporate Risk Management - A Critical Literature Review," MPRA Paper 45420, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Linda Loh & Chan Sok-Gee, 2017. "Bank Risk Taking Behaviour in Malaysia: Role of Board and Ownership Structure," Asian Academy of Management Journal of Accounting and Finance (AAMJAF), Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, vol. 13(2), pages 1-26.
    10. Rachdi Houssem & Trabelsi Mohamed Ali & Trad Naama, 2013. "Banking Governance and Risk: The Case of Tunisian Conventional Banks," Review of Economic Perspectives, Sciendo, vol. 13(4), pages 195-206, December.
    11. Dionne, Georges & Mnasri, Mohamed, 2018. "Real implications of corporate risk management: Evidence from U.S. oil producers," Working Papers 18-5, HEC Montreal, Canada Research Chair in Risk Management.
    12. Diana Zigraiova, 2015. "Management Board Composition of Banking Institutions and Bank Risk-Taking: The Case of the Czech Republic," Working Papers 2015/14, Czech National Bank.
    13. Kevin Aretz & Söhnke M. Bartram, 2010. "Corporate Hedging And Shareholder Value," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 33(4), pages 317-371, December.
    14. Maria Camila De-La-Hoz & Carlos Pombo & Rodrigo Taborda, 2018. "Does board diversity affect institutional investor preferences? Evidence from Latin America," Documentos CEDE 015991, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    15. Tai, Vivian W. & Lai, Yi-Hsun & Yang, Tung-Hsiao, 2020. "The role of the board and the audit committee in corporate risk management," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
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    17. Alberto Manconi & Massimo Massa & Lei Zhang, 2018. "The Informational Role of Corporate Hedging," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(8), pages 3843-3867, August.
    18. Gay, Gerald D. & Lin, Chen-Miao & Smith, Stephen D., 2011. "Corporate derivatives use and the cost of equity," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1491-1506, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corporate governance; risk management; corporate hedging; financial knowledge; board independence; audit committee independence; board of directors; university education; empirical test; unrelated directors; NYSE rules; Sarbanes Oxley act; audit committee size; financially educated directors; financially active directors; firm performance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General

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